tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 17, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
between all of their tweets and retweets -- and you can refresh. it's a timely feature on a day when the president's phone yet again supplied our lead story, spread a misfrootruth. look at the time. that's our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. good night for all of us here at nbc headquarters in new york. that's lot going on tonight. a lot of different types of stories including the terrorist
attack or terrorist attacks in spain. the terrorist attack earlier today in barcelona at this hour is known to have claimed 13 lives with another 80 people injured. there was a confusing sequence of reports all day long as to exactly what happened in that attack the number of attackers, whether or not the perpetrators were all known and were all in custody or were any of them dead, those reports evolved in a confusing layer for the course of today. there's also been confusion all day greeting this claim of responsibility for that attack issued by the terrorist group isis. it's not inconceivable that isis members or people inspired by could have carried out this atta attack. this is very much in keeping with their style and their tactics of terrorism in the west. what was unusual about this claim of responsibility from isis today is that in the past
isis hasn't claimed attacks like this. they haven't identified itself. they haven't identified their adherence as the perpetrators of terrorist acts like this while anybody was still at large or was in custody. isis tends to only claim responsibility once all of the attackers are known to be dead. the thinking is isis doesn't want to give investigators to use against any living suspects to try to pry information out of them. it was until the people who committed the attacks are known to be dead. isis claiming responsibility for this barcelona attack while the alleged attackers were at large or in custody. that was weird. that's an unusual thing. we'll be talking live in a couple of minutes with a
reporter we have a live report coming up in just a moment. here is the latest in terms of what we know about the terrorist attack in barcelona today. perhaps another attempted attack that spanish police may have just thwarted tonight. in the barcelona attack they say 13 people were killed. actually the number were 80. 15 of those people injured very seriously. that happened when a van deliberately plowed through a crowded pedestrian thoroughfare.
the van drove down. it was filled with tourists and shoppers. witnesses reported that the van zigzagged down that plaza for several hundred yards. the van finally came to a stop. the driver then fled the vehicle and spanish police were saying that the driver of the van he is still at large. now, the police say they have taken two people into custody. they are saying neither of those were the driver. then that brings us to what happened in the past hour. we have been getting reports in the last hour of a police operation in a different spanish city. it is particular ones where we are getting translated and
services and everything. often the initial story changes once we understand the truth of what happens. it is for exactly whaptd this evening. it is whether police it is the second incident was actually just a police operation against the purpose traitors soft barcelona attack. when the second operation was tonight they say they are kimmed several alleged perpetrators. again, was it another attack? we don't know. was it the police moving in? >> and in a town about an hour further south a connection with
an incident that happened last night that when it happened last night we didn't know to see it as anything other than a one off. last night there was an explosion that actually levelled a house and when that happened last night again, we didn't know it was connected to anything. they say that excloeplosion may linked to the attack in barcelona. they are telling nbc news investigators are looking at that explosion last night to see if that house might have been some kind of bomb making factory. it may be tonight. authorities say they are investigating the truck attack t on the pedestrian may be a rushed attack.
perhaps a bomb plot was the original plan and then the vehicle attack in barcelona today was a plan b after the attackers lost their source of explosiv explosives. they worry their cell might be unrevelled as they follow the leads from that explosive blast that happened last night. as i said, this is all -- these are all open questions at this point. we'll learn more in days ahead. but the tactic in the downtown barcelona attack today to target pedestrians, we have seen a bunch of attacks like this recently. all right. beyond the parallel that a lot of americans have fresh in our minds by an apparent white supremacist in charlottesville, virginia this weekend. we have seen six vehicle born attacks in the past year, all of
them with mutt pistltiple fatal. it happened last july when a man plowed a large truck into pedestrians. he core reened over a mile down a seaside promenade. he killed 86 people. but that's probably the most high profile one. a man slammed a truck into a holiday market in berlin. it killed 12 people. in march of this year a man drove a car into pedestrians in london. it killed four people. before the attacker got out of car and stabbed a police officer to death. the following month april in sweden a man hijacked a delivery truck and hit a slew of pedestrians. a plamonth after that three man a van ran down people on london
bridge before being shot to death by police. there have been a whole series of multiple fatalities, vehicle as heavy weapon attacks on innocent civilians in the past few months. today's attack is the first attack of this kind for spain. that said the last mass attack in spain it is one of the most deadly attacks ever on european soil. spain was home to the madrid train bombings that happened in 2004. spain, a partner of the united states and iraq war was hit by a terrorist attack killing more than 190 and wounding more than a thousand in madrid. >> today's attack is for this country for the september 11th.
>> today in spain life change in an instant. at 7:39 it ripped through packed computer trains. some bombs were placed in backpacks and others hidden on the train cracks. >> it means terrorist groups see a high body count as the true objective of their attacks. it's not just a political message anymore. it's something much more radical. >> one expert said countries need to understand it won't be easy to say the war on terror is over even if osama bin laden is caught. they are able to stage massive attacks with them or other groups have nothing to do i just
want to show, look, we can be as bad as them. >> that massive attack in spain was 13 years ago. of course isis didn't even exist yet in 2004. the evolution that they were talking about even then has continued. the attacks isis promotes are not the massive kind like the madrid train bombsinings and in berlin at christmas and in london. a handful of people using the means closest to him to kill as many people as possible. the isis affiliated has claimed today's attack. it is unusual for them to claim responsibility for an attack before we know that all of the purpose freighters are dead. they don't tend to like the give investigators a way to try to
treasure their interrogation suspects into giving up their isis contacts. if this was isis what does that tell us about what might happen next? if it was isis why are they claiming responsibility in breaking their previous pattern of how they handled other attacks like this? what can you tell us about the investigation right now and what we are hearing this possible second attack this evening in. >> reporter: that's right. the most popular if not the most popular and var famous across europe as well that's always
packed with residents going and shopping on the stalls heading down because that goes in the center of the city down to the sea. it would have been particularly packed today. look at it now. behind me is the plaza, one of the main squares here. usually this place is bustling with tourists and residents. look at it now. not even on christmas day you see it so weary. the driver of the van managed to run away to get away. the fact there is another terrorist attack the fact that two people have been arrested in connection to the barcelona attack. four people have been killed in
this. it means there is a wider organization at play. we don't know yet of course whether these two terrorist attacks are related, but the fact that there are so many people involved suggests at least that there was some kind of an organization behind it and it's not in the case of london. the lone wolf having to decided to run people over and that was it. . >> one question about the second attack. thank you for that. s it is hard to get action chasing down the purpose traitors.
do we have any understanding about what might have been the target for the second attack? >> well, i can't speculate on that yet because the police hasn't revealed any information on why they carried out the attack there. but what i can tell you is that it is down south about 2.5 hours drive. if you drive another 45 minutes south that is another town. a town when wednesday night an explosion took place and on wednesday night they thought it was because of a gas leak. now they believe it could be a connection between that explosion and today's attack in barcelona and perhaps the one here. it could have been a bomb making factory. it is the fact that these two
towns are not so far from each other could be an indication the town near barcelona could be related. thoo >> thank you for being up. i appreciate you joining us tonight. joining us now from iraq is the new york times foreign corresponde correspondent. thank you for being here. i know it's also the dead of night there. i appreciate you being with us. >> my pleasure, rachel. >> i was talking a few moments ago about basically what i have learned from you about what to watch for in isis claims of responsibility. before we got word of the second attack or at least the second police action tonight which appears to have left four people dead and another person seriously yseriou seriously injured we did get what appears to be a claim of
responsibility from isis. am i right? how do you view that? >> it is unusual if we assume that the two people in custody are the purpose traitors of the attack. i don't know if they are the actual actors of the attack. they are not try to go create a case and make it easier for police. >> in terms of what we know about the operation today it's always hard to know what's connected. it wausn't a bomb. it is possible that this was some how a separate course from what we saw today from that van attack in barbarcelona. if it turns out there was a
vehicle born attack. it mounted a second attack after the spectacular event in barcelona today. does it tell you anything in terms of what is inspired by isis rather than directed by isis? whether it might have been directed from a brawl? >> starting with the very first attack, the van attack, we know there were at least two people that came out of that car. we know it is out of the question. there were at least two people that were directly involved. the attack we believed was a gas attack from last night and appear to have some connection to this. if that theer by proves to be correct we are talking about a multi-site terrorist attack that takes a network, that takes resources and that suggests
something more than an inspire aid tack. it could be a true directed isis attack. >> one last question for you. i mentioned in the introduction that spain was home to the absolutely devastating madrid train bombings. we have been told that it has been a stopping off point. they were leaving home to go fight with isis in iraq and syria. that said spain has not been the target of a lot of the stayle attacks that we have seen in london. do you have any sense of how spain is viewed as a particular target by isis in this current it ration of isis? >> if it is isis it is the first isis attack in spain. the very first one. you have correct in portraying it that way. spain is much lower down than the u.k., than the isis, than
germany. those other countries have been repeatedly threatened. spain has been threatened. the very first terrorist attack was the attack in january of 2015 in paris. it is a couple of days later. the man who did that is considered the first isis inspired directed attacker in france. it is not as a place that would necessarily host its own attack.
>> thank you for joining us tonight from iraq. i appreciate you taking the time and effort to be here. >> thank you. we have so much news developing tonight from around the world, from around the country, from inside the white house. stay with us tonight. lots to come. my sweetheart's gone sayonara.
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order fly back early to washington tonight. but the vice president's office has now said that he plans tomorrow to attend a high level national security meeting on the subject of the war in afghanistan. why does the vice president need to be there for an afghanistan meeting? nobody knows. he could just call in for the meeting? nobody knows. we do know what has been circulating recently is a very provoketive proposal to turn it into a for-profit enterprise. this is betsy. she is the education secretary. she barely made it into the cabinet. the fight over her nomination was close enough pence had to come in and break the tie on the vote for her nomination.
before becoming education secretary she had no experience in the public sector at all. she does come from one of the richest conservative political donor families in the country as does her brother. following blackwater's tenure in the iraq war blackwater doesn't exist anymore and eric prince doesn't even live in the united states anymore. in december he resurfaced bizarrely in the middle of the trump russia story. that has given us new to watch for in tonight's and tomorrow's news. that story's next. stay with us. ♪ sailin' away on the crest of a wave, it's like magic ♪ ♪ rollin' and ridin' and slippin' and slidin' ♪ ♪ it's magic
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>> we lerarned that eric prince of all people, took a meeting with a representative of putin in the seychelles islands. the idea that he wanted to facilitate contact between the trump campaign and putin. the way he did it was by bringing in putin and eric prince on the other. he held this meeting in this remote island location so they could sin kronize their watches
during the presidential transition. in december it was reported in the washington post in april eric prince has knowledged that the meeting did take place and the washington post was right. he down played the cig any further -- significance. he described it as just business. well, we have since learned that one business proposition he has been selling is that the u.s. government should pay him 10 billion draollars a year so tha he can run the war in afghanistan. as a for-profit enterprise. he is very proud of the idea. he has sited colonial rule under the british em fire aspire for thinks they should connect the
next years of the afghanistan war. the idea of his billionaire brother being installed to be paid billions of dollars a year by the taxpayers to run his own private war there, it's enough to curl your eyelashes. it's hard to believe that would ever be taken seriously outside of hollywood. the news reports, they have generally taken the tone that this idea is not seriously being considered by the trump administration. honestly it has been offered in the same nonspecific spirit. therefore nothing too terrible will happen. james mattis was recently asked about eric prince's big business plan to take over the war from the u.s. military and although we keep hearing that secretary
mattis is one of those adults that won't let anything too weird happen he didn't sound dismissive of the idea when he was asked about it. >> did the afghanistan strategy contain any provisions for a significant number of security forces? >> it is part of the options considered and the director of cia. >> it is part of the options being considered he says. what at this point is too crazy to imagine? that the president might threaten to reign fire and fury and power like the world has never seen on north korea, that
the president might endorse a rally and not describe them as bad people? is it more inconceivable than that stuff? the reason at least the stated reason that vice president mike pence is having to come home early is because of a meeting that's just been called to discuss afghanistan strategy tomorrow at campdavid. it will include the national security adviser, president and vice president. we shall see what comes out of that meeting. mike pence was supposed to do a bunch of fundraisers this weekend in virginia. those events have been cancelled. so again, we will see what comes out of this afghanistan meeting. if something like that is going to happen and get announced it is worth considering this is a
particularly difficult, challenging, in some way strange time. it is a difficult time for the u.s. military because we are at war. the military bears the entire brunt of that. today we learned that an army green beret ray was killed and 11 utah national guards men. the young man has been identified as 27-year-old green beret ray butler. he was the 7th of eight kids in his family. he was one of seven brothers. he signed up for the utah national guard while he was still in high school. even if he signed up ten years ago the united states was already many years into the war hen he enlisted to serve in the war that eventually took his life. the news of his death, the other
11 utah national guards men hurt in the same incident is huge and sad news in utah tonight and in the national guard and community of iraq and afghanistan veterans. the u.s. navy was rocked by the first investigative report of the bizarre crash between a cargo vessel in june off the coast of japan. it describes in detail how the sailors on board fought for their own lives and fought to save each other when the two ships collided in the middle of the night. the efforts to save each other included efforts to save the captain of the ship. it described how five sailors used a sledge hammer and kettle beg from the gym to smash their way into the state room of the captain. the captain's state room apparently took a direct hit. they did get in.
the ship's captain was hanging off the outside of the ship for his life by the time they smashed their way into him to save his life. and those sailors were able to save him. he will now lose his career in the navy. the commander of the ship is being relieved as well as the second in command on board as will the command master chief who was the senior enlisted sailor. seven sailors died in that crash. they have not answered which of the two were at fault. they say they already know enough to fire all of top leadership of that u.s. navy destroyer. that is very serious news in the navy. they taking very dramatic action and it can't help in a stressful and high stakes time like this that all of the branches of military are also facing a new unnecessary crisis that was created out of thin air by the
u.s. president, a crisis which all of the brarchls of the u.s. military felt a need to break with their strict practice of avoiding politics, all of the service chiefs have felt comp compelled to put out public statements bluntly departing from statements made by the president on race after the charlottesville rioting this weekend. the chief of operations was first to respond saying events in charlottesville are unacceptable and must not be tolerated. u.s. navy stands against intolerance and hatred. saying there's no place for racial hatred or extremism in the u.s. marine corp. it was followed by chief of staff of the army he says we are
always together. that is followed by chief of the national guard who said i stand with my fellow joint chiefs in condemning racism and extremism. our diversity is our strength. tonight the chairman of the joint chiefs said this to voice of america. >> i can absolutely tell you there's no place for racism and bigotry in the u.s. military or in the united states as a whole. >> or in the united states as a whole. the service chief, chairman of the joint chiefs stay out of doe most domestic politics. as a rule they stay out of it. uniform military personnel are not allowed to be involved and the military lives that every
day. that said, you know, when the civilian leadership is being complimentary to white supremacists the u.s. military feels the need to separate. it has its own operational reasons to make clear they are not following this president on that particular political path. you might remember in april of 2014 there was a multiple murder in kansas, a domestic terrorist attack that followed a -- the nutty old man that committed the murders was a neo-nazi. he acted as his own lawyer at his trial. he gave the nazi salute in the courtroom. he said his only regret is that none of the people he killed
turned out to be jewish even though he picked has attacks in the hopes he would be singling out jews. he tried to unvail video evidence of a uniformed group of white supremacists in north carolina. he had been a member of the white patriots party. before they it had been the carolina knights of the ku klux klan. they did military style training. they seem today have access to some military grade weapons. one of the things that was most unsettling about that white patriots party when it immerged is that their leader at the time, a guy who would end up shooting those people in kansas, their leader back in the 80s when he was running the white patriots party, turns out he had
built up his organizational skills and military training which he built up. while he served for 20 years in the united states army. but the instructive thing to know is when the army -- even way back in the day when they figured out what they were dealing with him, he participated in 1979 when klan groups ambushed a leftie march and rally. he was in the national -- the american basically nazi party at the time and the army kicked him out for distributing racist propaganda. all of the branches of the military have had a policy of kicking them out if they find them to be part of racist or
extremist groups. under ronald reagan issued a special directive. september 1986 he sent out a priority message reminding all services that all military personnel must reject participation in supremacist organizations. a few years later five air force mp's were thrown out of service for being klan members. 1995 it immerged they first met and made friends in kansas. partially in response to that the military reupped and strengthened regulations. military personnel must reject participation in organizations thats a pouz supremacist causes. commanders have authority to employ the full range of procedures including
disciplinary action against military personnel who actively participate in such groups. in 2009 they clarified you could be thrown out of the service for fundraising or rallying or recruiting or organizing or leading members supremacist groups. you could be thrown out for distributing racist materials. they made it clear you could be thrown out of the service, not only if you do all of that active stuff to participate in racist groups but even if you have a tattoo or body marking that is associated with a racist or extremist group like that. it gives commanders an extremist tattoo decision support matrix so you can get advice in figuring out whether that stupid winged dragon is a stupid winged dragon or maybe it's a nazi
winged dragon. the difference between the u.s. military and the rest of us is that in the u.s. military it's not just terrible to be a nazi scum bag it is illegal to be a nazi scum bag and they freaking police it. and it is crucial to u.s. military leadership and it has been recognized as crucial to military leadership, that the military is absolutely crystal clear on this subject. and so when the president, the commander in chief starts blurring that line, then, yes, the service chiefs of the u.s. military feel to need to jump in immediately to try to make that line clear again, to try to erase any confusion that anybody might have on that subject. as if they didn't already have enough on their plate before this, as if they didn't have enough to deal with before this was shovelled onto their plates
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trump staffers said to be wringing their hands about whether they should quit their jobs over the defense of racism. that's strong feeling of unease among some white house officials. they would say they were startled by the president's defense. how could you not have seen this coming? >> our immigration system is worse than anybody ever realized. countless innocent american lives have been stolen. dangerous, dangerous, dangerous,
dangerous criminals. it is deadly nonenforcement policies. the days have run out. they are going to begin. it will be over. >> that speech happened almost exactly a year ago in phoenix, arizona. now he has enough plans to go back for another high minded soothing performance like that. now the mayor of phoenix, arizona is asking the president to please stay away, please don't to do it. please don't come to our city. how is that one going to end?
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will be clear his true intent is to further divide our nation. thanks for being with us. >> happy to be here. >> let me ask if the white house has responded to the request that the president should cancel this we veevent. >> all indications the rally in phoenix will occur on tuesday night and as i said in my statement, it's very very unfortunate. it is ill timed after the tragic events and disappointing response to unequivocally condemn racism and white supreme si to have this campaign-style rally and to openly discuss the possibility of pardoning sheriff joe arpaio. >> do you think there's a connection between the president's statements on race and his choice specifically of
phoenix? do you think race is part of the reason why he is coming to your city and why he is coming to arizona? >> i think the reaction of the president trump to the tragic events in charlottesville where white nationalists, one of them engaged in the murder of a young lady to condemn white supreme si in the united states of america was so disappointing to so many of us and willingness no consider who systematically violated the civil rights of so many latinos for so long. i do believe there's an unfortunate connection there. i think the timing is really bad and even considering a pardon for sheriff who terrorized our residence is a bad thing as well. put it together and it's a bad combination. >> are you worried about major protests if the president does show up? >> yes. i am. i know that people from around
the country because he announced this and put it on his social media they will be doing this rally openly, teasing that he might be pardoning sheriff joe arpaio. yes, we are expecting many many people from around the country to attend and i am concerned about what the purpose is to do inflamed passions. i'm concerned what might happen as a result. >> the mayor of phoenix arizona, this event fast approaching. stay in touch with us. we would love to be able to follow this story through your eyes in terms of how you see this unfolding. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. my experience with usaa has been excellent.
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in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember. there have been a few fridays this summer when i have not been here and we have shown other stuff at this hour on a friday night. tomorrow is not one of those fridays. i will be here with bells on tomorrow night. i will see you then. now, though, it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening, rachel. i am very proud to announce i have bill moyers joining us tonight. we've been trying to get him for a long time. as you know, on his website he has a timeline of the russia investigation that is invaluable with 400 data points, built the way prosecutors build their timelines. >> i was looking at that today, and the amazing thing about it is that they don't just lay everything out linearly. if you're curious about where one person appears in the story an